Brooklyn (NY): Skull Squat defense ongoing

For the past week, squatters and friends have defended Skull Squat in Brooklyn from shady developers and their goons attempting to break-in, lock out residents, and demolish the building. After forcing entry three days in a row with hammers and angle grinders, the developers have been turned away for the past two days by dozens of punks, anarchists, neighbors, and friends. The building has been squatted for six months by six black, brown, and white transgender anarchists.

The developers, two persistent and violent Israeli-American brothers, do not own the building. They forced long-term residents out years ago, allowed the building to deteriorate, and are hoping to reclaim it once it is foreclosed upon. They convinced the police of their claim to “management” with dubious work permits, who allowed them to break in and hurt those trying to defend the squat. Both their purported lease and permits have been found invalid by several civil authorities.

An affordable housing cooperative owns the three-story rowhouse and abandoned it years ago. It’s in a neighborhood we aren’t supposed to be able to afford. But we found it, did a little work, and live here. And we aren’t leaving it without a fight.

By defending our home, we directly confront the development machine that wants to take this building, raze it, and build another condo. The underfunded city agencies tasked with preserving affordable housing have long neglected to protect the building, so we’re doing it ourselves.

Last week, squatters at Skull woke up to construction workers in their living room. The equally startled workers called one of the developers, who called the pigs. Officers who showed up determined we are residents – and thus, that this is a matter for civil court – and turned away the developer and his workers.

Several days later, the other brother arrived with a new crew of goons. They shoved and kicked squatters and forced their way into the first floor, which they locked up. The pigs determined they had a right to be on that floor and stood by as they assaulted us with pipes and hammers. After they left we removed their locks and reinforced the building but on the very next day they again forced their way in. As the police again watched on, they demolished the first floor with sledgehammers and attempted to break water and sewage pipes in the basement. After they left we took the whole building back again, and spent all night strategizing and constructing barricades.

The following day, over sixty friends and supporters turned out on rapid response after break-in attempts resumed.

Today, they again tried to breach the front door with angle grinders and after a few moments they gave up and moved on to grind the lock off the bulkhead hatch to the basement. In the forty-year lineage of New York squatters, they were met with piss jugs emptied on them from the window. They gave up trying to force entry.

As I’m writing this friends from the local info-shop are laughing and talking around a grill and folding tables of food and drinks. Yesterday, squatters from a neighboring city played cards on the sidewalk before quickly linking arms to defend the doors from arriving goons. Old friends and squatmates have reconnected on the barricades and new connections have formed between comrades across subcultures and generations.

Tonight is the winter solstice. The goons had not yet left as the sun set. Tomorrow the sun will rise and the days will get longer and Skull Squat will still be here and will be for much longer.

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